As telegraphed in my column of yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry attempted to bust Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) at last night's GOP Reagan Library debate over Paul's noisome noisy* resignation from Reagan's GOP in 1987. Here's how the exchange went:
PERRY: Speaking of letters, I was more interested in the one that you wrote to Ronald Reagan back and said I'm going to quit the party because of the things you believe in.
PAUL: Oh, I need an answer on that.
HARRIS: You've got a 30-second rebuttal, Congressman.
PAUL: I strongly supported Ronald Reagan. I was one of four in Texas -- one of four members of Congress that supported Reagan in '76. And I supported him all along, and I supported his -- his -- all his issues and all his programs.
But in the 1980s, we spent too much, we taxed too much, we built up our deficits, and it was a bad scene. Therefore, I support the message of Ronald Reagan. The message was great. But the consequence, we have to be honest with ourselves. It was not all that great. Huge deficits during the 1980s, and that is what my criticism was for, not for Ronald Reagan's message. His message is a great message.
WILLIAMS: Funny thing about the mail. It kind of tends to live on forever.
I'll link it again: Reason's classic 1975 Q&A with Reagan, featuring the famous quote "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."
* Thanks to commenter Ellen Evans for informing me that my four-decade assumption that "noisome" = "noisy" is in fact wildly incorrect.
** UPDATE: Whoa–commenter Charles points us to this Reuters picture and accompanying reporting from the International Business Times that "during a commercial break, Perry walked up to Paul's podium, physically grabbed Paul's wrist, and pointed at Paul's face with his other hand":